Sam Akinsanya PRC Report (Nov. 2016)

Report of the Racially Visible Persons Rep to the Prairie Region Council submitted for the November 2016 meeting. This report covers the period from the last PRC meeting.

Sam Akinsanya
Racially Visible Persons Rep
Prairie Region Council November 2016

  • ​January 12, 2016 – Teleconference:
    Participate on the first Steering Committee meeting for the first PSAC Regional conference for RV members.
  • February 19 – 22, 2016 – Saskatoon:
    Attended PRC meeting in Saskatoon.
  • May 5 – 6, 2016 – Ottawa:
    Invited and attended the Steering committee meeting for the National Human Rights Conference taking place at the Sheraton Centre in Toronto. At the meeting the committee was presented with the general theme of the Conference from the perspective of the RV members and we were asked to provide input. This was a one day meeting and we spent the whole day trying to iron-out the theme as well as the subject matter of the workshops.
  • May 30, 2016 – Teleconference:
    Participate on the Steering committee for the PSAC Regional Conference for the RV members.
  • June 18, 2016 – Calgary:
    Attended the “Calgary IKEA Summit”. Ikea summit was a meeting called by the Calgary Area Council Chair of all the local committees’ executives. The purpose of the meeting was to brainstorm and come up with ideas on how to reach members and get them more involve in participating in union activities. Out of this summit came the idea of “Ice Cream” day. Simply put, the committee will go to as many locals as possible during their lunch time serving them with Ice cream while engaging them at the same time in conversation of how, why and what they can be involve in their union. The result of this was the Ice cream day of September 29th at the Harry Hays building – which turns out to be a huge success by any interpretation.
  • June – August 2016:
    Worked on organizing the very first PSAC Regional Conference for the RV members….. was an experience to remember!
  • September 9, – 11 2016 – Regional RV Members’ Conference:
    In a nutshell, the conference brought together more than fourty members from the RV group for about three full days. Based on the feedback from the attendees, the event was really appreciated and welcome and everyone is looking forward to 2019 for the next triennial event. Report for the event is still being prepared and it is my hope that you would be able to read it by January PRC meeting or perhaps at the convention.
  • September 20 – 21, 2016 – National Human Rights Committee Meeting:
    Day one of the meeting was on September 20 at the Westin Hotel in the British Columbia Room. This meeting was among the 7 regional representatives for the PSAC RV members. The meeting was chaired by a National Human Rights Officer who has the portfolio of the PSAC RV members – Seema Lamba.

    The meeting started once again by conducting an introduction of the participating members because another one of the originally elected representative had left and have a new replacement coming to the meeting for the first time.

    ​The discussion at the meeting revolves around the following agenda items:

  1. Identification and Review of Priorities for 2016-2018 PSAC cycle such as

    a) Regional Updates — which focus on Educational products – specifically, a course that has been designed and available in the regions for offering. The name of the course if my recollection is right is – “Representation of Racialized Members in the Workplace”.

    b) Emerging Issues – this discussion focus mainly on how to communicate within our region and among the National working group (W/G). Some of the people raised the issue of not having a data base to communicate with. Suggestion was made to make use of the regional communication officer to send out information on behalf of the regional representative to Racialized members in the region. It was also decided that the new Racialized regional conference is a good way to build a data base for regional members by the representative and we all agreed. It is hope of all in attendance that the conference will ease the communication problem.

  2. Update on the Regional Conferences for racially Visible Members. This discussion was to find out from the three region that has completed the conference prior to this meeting – i.e. Ontario, British Columbia and Prairie region. All three reps reported that the conference was a success and based on the feedback from the participants delegates, it was worth fight to achieve it and they are all looking forward to the next one.
  3. Update on the Upcoming National Conference for Racially Visible Members in March of 2017.  Discussion focused mainly on the deadline for members to apply as delegates to the conference as well as introducing the Steering committee of the Conference to the rest of the W/G. Discussion also introduce the resolution committee members which default is the three other members of the W/G that are not part of the Steering committee. Also discussed was the deadline for submitting resolution in order to be accepted for the conference.
  4. Equity Days – the following days were discussed in terms of what activities should be carried out or not carried out:
    a) December 10th – International Human Rights Day
    b) Black History Month
    c) Asian History Month
    d) March 21st 2017 – International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

    We had discussion on each of the days above but didn’t really come to a conclusion as to which one we were going work on. As a W/G, we are to individually look for stories of individual or event in the community that we can use to put together something for December 10, 2016 – deadline for submission is October 30, 2016.

    Secondly, W/G is to research on all ethnicities for story to present for March 21st 2017.

    As a committee, we are to review the Public Service Employee Survey on Treasury Board web-site. We need to have a Teleconference on Employment Equity issues.

    Day two of the meeting was in the plenary with all the five equity groups and the components representatives in one room. This part of the meeting was co-chaired by Larry Rousseau and Donna Lackie.

    After the usual routine, the day began with Panel to present a “Year in Review”.

    As part of the report was the report on the Racialized members conferences for which three of the seven regions has been completed. Seema Lamba the national Human Rights Officers in charge reports as follow:

    a) That the conferences were extremely successful
    b) Among issues identified is Precarious Employment of racialized members
    c) Underemployment of members
    d) Employment Equity
    e) Through the conferences, a safe space has been created that allows members to speak freely without holding back on their feelings
    f) Also the conferences has allowed for building of networking in the region among the racialized members

    Another member of the panel presented on Mental Health Issue.|

    a) She reported that the approach focus on Joint participation of Task Force
    b) Use of existing personnel in the workplace
    c) Using Employment equity approach
    d) Increasing number of disability is being claimed members
    e) Significant number of disability claims being filed are for mental issues
    f) Disproportionately number of claims are filed by women – twice as much as that filed by men
    g) About 6,000 employees were terminated by employers in 2015 for health/disability related reasons.

  • Updates on Collective Bargaining:
    There has been 11 sessions with the government – 5 of the sessions were with the new Liberal government and the same proposal of the Conservative government is still on the table.

    The FB table appears to have a slight improvement last week (September 11 – 17). So there will be a return to the table by the group. If nothing happen at this session, we should be prepared to “stand up and fight”. We were advised to go back to our locals and start talking about solidarity and be prepared for fight for our right. We will await and see what happens with the CIU. If we’re not call back in good time we will be applying for PIC (Public Interest Commission). Application to PIC would most likely take until Spring of 2017.

    We have not yet declared an Impasse but the way things are going, this may be the only way we’re going to move forward if the employer doesn’t change his attitude. For now, we should be talking about training people for strike at our locals just to give the management something to think about.

    But if nothing comes out of the FB session in October, then we’ll move quickly to mobilize for strike training.

  • September 26, 2016 – Calgary HRC Meeting:
    Attended the Calgary Human Rights Committee meeting at the Calgary Regional Office. Discussion at the meeting included:
    a) Volunteering at the Calgary Drop-In Centre
    b) Debating and voting on proposed resolution to be submitted to the National
    c) Human Rights Conference
    d) Discussion on sponsoring meal for the drop-in Centre.
    For details of discussion on the meeting, see the minutes of the meeting on the website.
  • September 27, 2016 – By-law Committee:
    Attended the By-law committee meeting on the. Highlights of discussion included:
    a) Second Alternate REVP
    b) PRC Audited Financial statements
    c) A/REVP duties
    d) Area Council/Regional Committees – Financial Reporting
    e) Other general discussion.
  •  September 29, 2016 – “Ice Cream” Day – Calgary:
    In collaboration with the Calgary Area Council, Regional Women Committee and the Calgary Human Rights Committee, we set up the PSAC tent at the Harry Hays building and reached out to all the locals in the building. Detail of the event is available in the Area Council chairs’ meeting to the council. 
  • October 13, 2016 – Meeting with the REVP – Calgary:
    Executives of the Area Council as well as those of the committees in Calgary met with the REVP at the regional office. The meeting was called by the REVP and it was meant to discuss the requirements that has to be met in order to get subsidized funding for elected delegates to the up-coming regional triennial. Also the discussion focuses on allocation of delegates by locals, area councils and committees.

    Sam Akinsanya RVM Representative – Prairie Region